R-Value: What Is It and Why Is It Important?
If you’re looking into insulation, you’ll see the term R-value pop up quite a bit. So what is it and why is it important? R-value measures a material’s resistance to heat. It’s especially important in insulation because insulation is meant to trap hot air in order to keep it from leaving your home in the winter and entering your home in the summer. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation.
What R-Value Should I Get?
R-value recommendations vary depending on where you’re installing insulation, where you live, and other factors regarding your home’s specific needs. Typically, the warmer the area, the lower the R-value required. In most of California, the recommended R-value for attics ranges from R30 to R60; for floors, it’s R25; and for crawl spaces, it ranges from R19 to R25. In contrast, somewhere like North Dakota requires a range of R49 to R60 for attics and a range of R25-R30 for floors and crawl spaces. You can reference the chart below (provided by Insulation Institute) as a guide on the recommended R-values in your area.
What Insulation Works Best for My Desired R-Value?
R-values vary based on the type of insulation material you choose and how much of it you use. It’s also important to ensure that your insulation is installed properly, so as not to bring down the R-value of the material. For example, if you compress fiberglass in order to fit more into an area, then you decrease it’s R-value – so you need to weigh your options when choosing insulation. Each type of insulation has its own benefits so it really comes down to your home’s specific needs. If you were to need to insulate an area that doesn’t allow a lot of depth, for example, it might make more sense to use closed-cell spray foam insulation which has a higher R-value (6.5 per inch) with less depth, rather than using fiberglass (2.2 to 3.8 per inch) or cellulose (3.1 to 3.8 per inch). However, closed-spray foam insulation is more expensive than fiberglass and cellulose so using a different type of insulation material for other areas in your home may make more sense for you. Regardless of the choice you make, you need to make sure that your insulation reaches the recommended R-value. If you’re on a budget and want the most cost-effective solution, you can choose to go with a material that has a lower R-value and use more of it to reach the area’s desired R-value.
It’s important to note, however, that the R-value of insulation does not always indicate the same types of protection offered with each material. R-value merely determines the quality of the temperature control in your home. Other reasons for insulation, such as noise reduction, do not necessarily depend on R-value alone but rather on the material used. Mineral wool (made up of rock) is the best type of insulation to use for noise reduction but has an R-value of 2.2 to 4.2 per inch, compared to spray foam insulation’s higher range of insulation (3.7 to 6.5 per inch).
So there you have it. R-value measures a material’s resistance to heat and is one of the most important factors in choosing insulation for your home. It’s always best to have your space inspected and consult an expert on what works best for your home given your needs and budget. Our team at Insulation Labs is made up of highly knowledgeable and licensed experts who can guide you every step of the way. Call us today at (818) 351-2827 for a free estimate.
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